By JOHN CORYER
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Last weekend was a crucial one in SUNY Athletic Conference play for the Plattsburgh State baseball team.
This weekend, it becomes do-or-die time for the Cardinals.
Plattsburgh (7-15, 2-7) is at the College of Brockport for a three-game set, including what is now a noon single game today and a noon doubleheader on Sunday. That schedule could change, however, due to rain in the Brockport area.
With half their conference schedule already in the books, the Cardinals stand at 2-7 in the standings and need something good to happen.
“No doubt about it, we need to find a way to get it done this weekend,” Plattsburgh coach Kris Doorey said. “We need to get at least two wins.
“Even though we lost two of three last weekend in Oneonta, our freshmen became more comfortable on the field and understand what to do in league play. They know it’s going to be a dogfight.”
Two wins would get the Cardinals back to 4-8 and still alive for a conference tournament playoff spot. Three wins would be even better. But losing two of three — or all three —would all but put Plattsburgh out of contention.
The Golden Eagles (12-10, 3-7) will provide a difficult test.
Brockport started out 1-6 in conference play, but did the unthinkable last weekend by taking two of three games from conference power and No. 2-ranked Cortland on the Red Dragons’ home field to improve to 3-7 in the standings.
“Brockport is a very good team and they’re athletic,” Doorey said. “I’m sure they gained some confidence last weekend. But they are in the same boat we’re in.”
Nick Bunce (.360), Wesley Burghardt (.352), Pete Wilson (.342) and Kyle Tracy (.333) are the leading hitters for the Golden Eagles. Travis Renwick has been the most effective pitcher with a 3-1 record and 3.41 ERA.
The Cardinals enter the weekend following Wednesday’s 9-3 non-conference home win over Clarkson University.
“Offensively, we have been alright of late,” Doorey said. “Our pitchers have continued to do what they’ve been doing.
“We need to have the mentality that every game we play from now on is like the seventh game of the World Series. It’s taking one game at a time.”
Doorey says his team is not pressing like they were.
“We’re not stressing out as much now,” he said. “We’re letting the players see what happens. They have to bring what they do in practice into the game. We need to do all the little things and keep getting better.
“We’ve lost nine games by either one or two runs.”
The Cardinals have only two players batting .300 or better — Nicholas Lupo (.320) and Brian Latulipe (.300). The pitching staff is being led by Brian Burns, who had a 3-1 mark and 1.82 ERA.
“We have Burns, Marc Plante, Corey Grossman, Mike Vargues and Mike Doughtie ready to pitch this weekend,” Doorey said.
Following this weekend, Plattsburgh only has three-game conference sets remaining at New Paltz and then home versus Oswego.